Timing is Everything

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posted 5/20/2009 by Cyril Lachel
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Every Friday we sit around and play the retro games released each week. To do this we check out what Nintendo decided to upload from week to week, allowing us a chance to go back and relive some of the best (and worst) games for the Genesis, Super NES, Commodore 64, NES and many other old school consoles. Each week we write up what we think and post it in a section we call the Retro Round-Up, and we've been at it for more than two years.

For the most part Nintendo does an excellent job of capitalizing on trends and upcoming releases. It's rare to see a big Nintendo release go by without the company first posting some sort of tie-in release on the Virtual Console. Unfortunately this attention to detail doesn't seem to exist past their own titles. Recently there have been a number of big game releases and news events that should have inspired Nintendo, but instead they released Nobunaga's Ambition or something equally irrelevant. As the saying goes, timing is everything. And right now it feels like Nintendo is on the losing end of that old adage. To demonstrate this, we've decided to put together a short list of the seven most recent examples of missed opportunities. See if you agree that indeed Timing Is Everything!

Fighting Street (TurboDuo)
Why Now?
Let's face facts here; Street Fighter is having the best year ever. After more than a decade of waiting fans finally get the sequel they've been waiting for, there's a new movie and people all over the world are still addicted to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Can you think of a better time to release the original Street Fighter? After all, it's the game that started it all. Sure, it's not very good. In fact, I would go as far as to say that by today's standards its downright unplayable. But can you think of a more perfect time to release the only port of the one Street Fighter games most franchise loyalists have never had a chance to play? Capcom, you missed your opportunity!

Would It Be Worth Buying?

There's no reason why Capcom and Nintendo couldn't have uploaded this misunderstood classic in the weeks leading up to the release of Street Fighter IV. The game was released in the U.S., it's on a console that is already emulated on the Virtual Console and we know that Capcom and Hudson are gung ho about Nintendo's retro game channel. I guess the question comes down to whether or not they should have released it. I'm of the mind that while it's not a very good game, Fighting Street is worth having to see the complete history of Street Fighter. Now, that's assuming you have throw-away money. The truth is, Fighting Street is a dreadful fighting game, the special moves are incredibly difficult to pull off and this game proves that there's no easy way of turning a six-button control scheme into a two button affair. On the other hand you have nice graphics to look at and the music is straight out of the arcade. I would definitely recommend this game to fans of the franchise who have the money to spend, but everybody looking for a solid fighting game should probably look elsewhere.

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Star Trek: The 25th Anniversary (NES)
Why Now?
Forget Star Wars, lately everybody has been going crazy for Star Trek. J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) managed to do the impossible, he made everybody into a Trekkie. It used to be that Star Trek fans would have to hide their love in shame, keeping all of their gadgets and plastic toys in a dark room away from everybody in their lives. But not these days. Now that the movie has made close to a hundred million dollars and everybody looking forward to another movie (and a possible TV series), you might think that Nintendo would upload one of the many Star Trek games. But you would be wrong. Instead they uploaded Galaxy Force II. Even the Xbox Live Arcade has a Star Trek game ready for this week. This is yet another example of Nintendo being tragically behind. As the title says, timing is everything and Nintendo may not have another chance like this.

Would It Be Worth Buying?

You should consider yourselves lucky that Nintendo didn't do the obvious thing and upload this no-good, very bad, awful action game. For starters, the game is nothing but text. I swear that the first hour of the game was just me reading crummy dialog from Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu and the rest of the well-known cast. And then when I finally beam down to a planet, I'm forced to put up with terrible computer AI, unfair enemies and a story that makes no sense whatsoever. It's all very illogical. The sad fact is that no matter which console Star Trek game you buy, you're still going to have to put up with way too much text and non-responsive controls. The best Star Trek games have been on the PC, and looking at the upcoming Star Trek: D-A-C, it looks like it's going to stay that way for some time to come.

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Bionic Commando (NES)
Why Now?
I shouldn't even have to explain this; Nintendo would be foolish not to upload the original 8-bit Bionic Commando to the Virtual Console. Not only did Capcom's stunning remake, Bionic Commando Rearmed, sell millions of units on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, but the company has a brand new 3D Bionic Commando sequel blowing up the competition later this spring. There is no better time than right now to give the people what they want, 8-bit Bionic Commando. From what I understand Capcom approached Nintendo about releasing this version at the same time as the polygonal remake, however Big N declined. Hopefully they'll reconsider and release one of the best NES games of all time on their Wii service.

Would It Be Worth Buying?
While the original Bionic Commando is one of the greatest (and hardest) action games ever made, the recently released remake (<a href="http://www.defunctgames.com/shows.php?id=courant-229" target="_blank"<b>Bionic Command Rearmed</b></a>) is better in every way possible. Not only does it look and play better than the twenty year old original, but it also allows you to get hit more than once or twice. There is nothing worse than one-hit kills, and Bionic Commando was the king of them. Half the challenge of the game was remembering to dodge random bullets that come from off screen. While that may sound like fun for some people, I personally prefer it when games actually give me a chance. Having said that, this 8-bit version is still worth picking up, even if it is mind-numbingly difficulty.

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